Die to Live

Swami Nirvikalpananda Saraswati

He who would save his life shall lose it; he who would lose his life shall save it.
Christ, The Bible

Once upon a time there was a great yogi who was called Mahadevji, disciple of Babaji, who lived in the Himalayas. He was famous for his great wisdom and knowledge, but also for his refusal to accept any disciples except the few that he had who were worthy of being well trained with patience and love.

One day a young man came to Mahadevji, who lived on the summit of a mountain, and expressed the wish to become his disciple.

- Very well, said Mahadevji, you can be my disciple, but on one condition.

- What's the condition? asked the young man. Mahadevji pointed to the edge of the mountain, which dropped down into a ravine thousands of feet below.

- I want you to jump over the edge, he said.

- But then I will die, cried the man. It's impossible to survive a fall like that!

- You have to die before you can be reborn, said Mahadevji calmly.

- What do you mean?

- If you are not prepared to die for me you might as well go, said Mahadevji, and sat down again. You are not ready to be my disciple.

The man was confused.

- But if I am dead I can't be your disciple, can I? he said. I came to you to be able to live life more fully, and certainly not because I wanted to die.

- To be my disciple you first have to die, repeated Mahadevji. To experience life more fully as you want to, we can think about later.

- But how can I experience life at all if I am dead? asked the man. It isn't possible, is it?

Mahadevji looked at him.

- You are a farmer, aren't you?

- Yes.

- So what do you do when your fields are full of weeds, and you want to cultivate rice?

- I take away the weeds, of course.

- Right. You kill the weeds to be able to cultivate rice. In the same way, you have to kill yourself to be able to cultivate a new consciousness, to be able to merge with me. Without merging with me, you can't be my disciple.

The man hesitated, looked once more into the deep ravine - and went away.